Boston Public Garden, America’s First Public Park


boston-public-gardenThe Boston Public Garden is right next to Boston Common, which was created in 1634 as the first public park in America. The park had a number of walkways that were practical for traveling across town. The Public Garden was America’s first garden that was open to anyone who wanted to visit it. The pathways in the garden also make for a picturesque stroll.

Victorian Influence in Garden Design

The style of the park was brought on by the Victorians, as they designed the garden’s floral patterns. These patters utilized innovative techniques for hybridizing and propagating plants. Those who visit the garden will see bright, vibrant annuals, as well as plants that are grown in a greenhouse. There are a number of exotic trees that have also been imported to the garden. In the public design competition for the garden, George Meacham used these design techniques to win the competition—the prize was $100.  The combination of colors in the garden was a complaint for many early Bostonians; however, the Public Garden is one of the city’s greatest attractions these days.

Flowers at the Boston Public Garden include several types of bulbs, roses, and flowering shrubs. The flowers are planting on a rotating schedule all year long. There are also a number of trees in the garden, including:

  • Beech trees, include purple, European and Weeping European beeches
  • River birch
  • Castor Aurelia
  • Western catalpa
  • Kwanzan cherry

Boston Public Garden is also home to several historical statues, such as:

  • The Equestrian Statue of George Washington by Thomas Ball, on Arlington Street, facing Commonwealth Avenue
  • The Good Samaritan statue by John Quincy Adams Ward. The statue is the first one made of ether for anesthetic purposes.
  • The George Robert White memorial by Daniel Chester French. The statue’s official name is “The Angel of the Waters.”
  • The Triton Babies Fountain, which was created by Anna Coleman Ladd. Ladd was the first woman to have a statue in Boston Public Garden

Visiting Boston Public Garden

The Parks Department retains the Victorian tradition of the Boston Public Garden so that visitors can take in the beauty of the area. There are more than 80 plant species featured in the garden; the plants have been cultivated to grow both in the garden and in over 50 locations around the city of Boston. The beautiful scenery at the garden makes it an ideal place for weddings and receptions.

In addition to the beautiful plants and flowers in the garden, tourists can also take a ride on the Swan Boats, which have been operated for years by the Paget family. Friends of the Public Garden and Common, which is a nonprofit advocacy group made of volunteers and more than 2500 members, also produces a pamphlet that informs tourists about the rich history of the park, which helps to answer visitor questions in a colorful and informative way.

Boston Public Garden is maintained by the City of Boston. The city of Boston’s website, at, provides more information on the breathtaking plants at the park and the events being held nearby.

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